Coaching Update 2020/21

Dear Parents,

The new season is finally underway, and it’s been wonderful to see everyone so happy to be back in the pool – our returning athletes and new members.

We have only been able to return thanks to the endless generosity of Kilcornan Pool, and our relentlessly hard working committee – who have all put in many hours to ensure every child can return. Our numbers have to be restricted, so I’d also like to thank you for your cooperation in working with our dynamic training schedule. Life is filled with uncertainty, so providing a successful, stable program, while keeping everyone safe, is a priority.

Parents play an integral role in the success of any team.

I’d like to thank our outgoing chairperson, Karen, for all her work ensuring we successfully achieved our Club Mark, and for compiling all the documents required to help with the smooth running of everyday operations. Please respect the new policies and procedures that have been put in place. Not only do these guidelines help run stress-free practices, but they also help protect you, your child, our coaches and committee.

We are all aware of the added responsibilities needed to run the club under the new government guidelines. Our club secretary, Christine is doing an amazing job – sending us daily reminders and ensuring PIA’s have all the necessary information required to operate and remain compliant.

The role of the PIA Officer has yet to be filled. Christine has been tending to these duties for the best part of a year. I’m appealing for a parent to volunteer to take on the role to manage the monthly rota for the Parent-in-Attendance.

While the season’s competition calendar comes together with a new format, my coaching philosophy and goals for your child, and the team, remain the same.

Differencing expectations from a coach, parent and/or athlete, can take away from what should be a positive experience for all involved. Please make sure that my philosophy fits with your expectations of what you want for your children. If it does not, then this is the opportunity to let me know.

Coaching Philosophy

– To create a positive environment where competitive swimming is an exciting and fun way for children to learn new skills and make friends.

– Encourage positive feedback for effort from parents, coaches and teammates. Skills develop at different rates, but effort and having fun can always be achieved.

– Coach fundamental technique and racing skills, both at practice and in competitions. Performance will not always be time-related.

– Through positive reinforcement, athletes will leave training and competitions feeling good about their effort and performance.

– Make practice as fun as possible for the athletes, while providing the training and instruction that they need to improve. Swimmers expect and respond to well-structured and organised sessions – and remember, swimming FAST is fun!

– Get to know each swimmer. Athletes should know that their coach is interested in what they have to say and more importantly, know that their coach likes him/her as a person.

– Competition is an important element of any sport. Help swimmers develop the ability to deal with competition in a healthy way – with the focus on effort and attitude.

Coaching Objectives

My five primary coaching objectives this season are:
1. Provide a safe and healthy environment for all kids on the team

2. Develop a passion for the sport through fun and competition

3. Establish stroke efficiency and competitive skills through technique development

4. Give positive reinforcement based on effort rather than results

5. Teach life-skills and the importance of good sportsmanship: discipline, self-sufficiency, hard work, teamwork and managing expectations

Athlete Expectations

– Have fun and always give your best effort

– Show respect for the coaches, parents, officials, team mates and other club athletes – always


Once Swim Ireland have released the season’s competition calendar, I will hold a parent information evening to expand on updates, qualifying criteria, meet procedures and policies – and answer any queries you may have.

In the meantime, if you have a concern with me, one of our coaches or with a developing situation, please let me know straight away. Same holds true if your child isn’t happy about something. Problems can be fixed very easily if I know about them, so please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.

Remember, everything we do is about helping kids to love sport, to make friends and to enjoy their journey.

Be kind. Be respectful. Work together.

Here’s to a fun and rewarding season!

Yours in Swimming,
Helen Gunning
Head Coach